The minute I walked into the gym for the first time I had 15 new friends. That’s just the way it works on a team. I don’t get along with all of them all of the time, but we were brought together by something bigger than any one of us. Team. It’s just one of those things that binds people on a deeper level. It brings together people who might otherwise never be friends and shows them where they have common ground.
There are other things that connect us on a much bigger scale, things that, unlike my team, don’t give me warm feelings. Cancer. It’s touched every single person on my team. We’ve all been affected by it, but we’re not unusual. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, 487 people are diagnosed with some form of cancer on an average day.
As I write this I can’t help but think of the people who I’ve lost, and the pain I’ve seen others go through.Much like a team, the hardships faced when dealing with illness bind people together.
Over the course of the season every women’s basketball team in the league hosts Shoot for the Cure in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Forty-three teams thread pink laces through the eyes of their Pro-Models, pull pink socks up to their knees and tie their braids with pink elastics. We sell t-shirts and raffle tickets, we volunteer our time and cut our hair. We allow the pain that has brought us together to inspire us to be better. Last year, there was a cheque presented for $104,763 to the CBCF. Every dollar donated was a step towards research that could change people’s lives.
This year, we’re going all out. Our athletic therapist, and another girl on the team, are each cutting their hair and donating it to make wigs for cancer patients. Coach (whose hair isn’t quite long enough for a wig) is dying his pink. There are some awesome raffle prizes, 50/50 draws, and sweet pink VReds gear for sale. Oh yeah, and we also get to go head-to-head against our rivals who gave us two great games earlier this season.
And why do we do this? Because, right now, someone is being told by their doctor that they have a long road ahead. We all do things we don’t want to do. We put our noses to the grindstone and we go to work, but some battles are bigger than others. Some battles can’t be fought alone. And those are the ones where a team becomes more than five, more than fifteen. Those are the ones where a team becomes a community. No one wants to watch a 40-point blowout, but right now cancer is kicking our butts. We wanted to come out that weekend and help us bring together our community in joy and celebration of life and in of the beauty of a fair battle.